Main definitions of demon in English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon1

noun

  • 1An evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell:

    ‘he was possessed by an evil demon’
    ‘each of the damned souls was guarded by a group of hideous demons’
    • ‘It was a large wave of monsters, made up mainly of ogres and dog demons.’
    • ‘On Japanese art objects, Kintaro is usually shown fighting with a wild animal or a demon.’
    • ‘The Japanese culture and arts have been strongly influenced by a wide-spread belief in ghosts, demons and supernatural spirits.’
    • ‘Early Christian art painted demons and devils as black figures.’
    • ‘Possession by a bad spirit (a demon or witch) has been cited as the cause of some of the evil things people do.’
    • ‘In the first one I look like some evil demon has possessed me.’
    • ‘But there is simply no credible evidence to suggest the boy was possessed by demons or evil spirits.’
    • ‘Frescoes of demons and spirits writhe across the walls of its prayer halls, and the drone of absorbed monks fills dim rooms and corridors.’
    • ‘Shadows of beasts and demons flickered bigger-than-life on the walls.’
    • ‘In a statement to the inquest, Mr Delstanche senior, said his son was not trying to harm himself but thought he could burn the spirits or demons out of his body.’
    • ‘Tibetans treat the blind as outcasts because they believe they are possessed by demons or have committed evil in a prior life.’
    • ‘Indeed, they would conclude that he was possessed by an evil demon.’
    • ‘As well as animal forms, demons can have other grotesque and hideous forms.’
    • ‘‘People who lived on the streets due to the abuse of drugs, were not mentally deranged but possessed by demons,’ he said.’
    • ‘Can a pharmacist refuse to fill a prescription because he or she believes the client is possessed by demons?’
    • ‘This type of dragon was considered by many to be the intermediate stage between a demon and the Devil and as such came into Christian belief.’
    • ‘In Tartini's time, the Devil personified the spirit of evil, a demon, the ruler of Hell, and the chief adversary of God.’
    • ‘The demons and other beasts that escaped banishment hid in the dark places of the world, like the forests and great pits.’
    • ‘From that there can be no doubt that the power of a demon is destructive - his purpose in dominating the personality is to destroy it.’
    • ‘At any rate, the talk show host was advising a father who thought his son was possessed by a demon.’
    devil, fiend, evil spirit, fallen angel, cacodemon
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    1. 1.1 A cruel, evil, or unmanageable person:
      ‘I was a little demon, I can tell you’
      • ‘Three, I'm a sadistic demon that delights in your emotional pain.’
      • ‘Why did he go from nearly human to cruel demon in a heartbeat?’
      • ‘She had been manipulated by the demon, just as Koreko had been.’
      • ‘No, they are not animals, they are evil demons who hide under the cloak of kindness and normality while they hatch their plots.’
      • ‘You are just hiding your true feelings; you hate us, you think we are evil wicked demons from hell here to rip you to shreds.’
      • ‘That, or there's some twisted sadist of a blind, jealous lunatic demon deceiving me.’
      • ‘After all, no child could resist the commanding and manipulating voice of a demon.’
      monster, ogre, fiend, devil, villain, brute, savage, beast, barbarian, animal
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A powerful, often destructive compulsion or obsession:
      ‘he is plagued by demons which go back to his childhood’
      • ‘It releases something, some little demon, just to say these things.’
      • ‘By contrast, Milligan's mental demons burrowed much deeper, troubling him all his life.’
      • ‘In every scene, we can sense monsters, demons, and compulsions lurking just beneath surface.’
      • ‘The painter's private demons take shape in the figures on the canvas.’
      • ‘Martina Rosenoff types at her keyboard, successfully able to push the demons of fear and doubt from her mind.’
      • ‘Which rising star in the art world claims to be possessed by demons?’
      • ‘They were caught up with their own private demons - which it seemed I was responsible for unleashing.’
      • ‘Gerald suffers in his relationship with Gudrun, his mixture of violence and weakness arousing a destructive demon in her.’
      • ‘I cannot remember and do not know what evil demon possessed me and took me down to the record shop to buy this.’
      • ‘What kind of psychological demons must Lisa suffer from to ruin his life like this, he wondered.’
      • ‘Plagued by demons of hate and angels of mercy, she had become his damsel in distress needing permanent rescuing.’
      • ‘My private demons were as clear as the words on the printed page.’
      • ‘Both men were driven by powerful inner demons, throughout their childhood and into adulthood.’
      • ‘But one deeply entrenched demon I would like to exorcise is my tendency to break into a cold sweat when dealing with things financial.’
      • ‘Airguns are not possessed of demons but, sadly, humans often are.’
      • ‘He realized with disgust that, as much as he hated the man he became during war, a large part of him thrived on the action just as much as that demon in his mind.’
      • ‘A few years back, I interviewed an American college English professor who started drinking whiskey to control his psychological demons.’
      • ‘I intend to say that he has every right not to be more forthcoming but some Freudian demon prompts me to say that he has every reason not to.’
      • ‘Psychologically, demons may well be a projection of ourselves, the worst part of our nature or the most feared part of our own nature.’
      • ‘Maybe writing about it will exorcize this particular demon.’
    3. 1.3 Something very insidious and harmful:
      ‘the demon of sexism’
      [as modifier] ‘the demon drink’
      • ‘A friend of mine has gone for an ascetic existence, having denounced the demon drink, and even resolved to stop swearing.’
      • ‘The couple told the Evening Press today that the demon drink was to blame.’
      • ‘Barely three years ago, O'Sullivan was at rock-bottom and shut away in The Priory battling three demons - drugs, drink and depression.’
      • ‘Bingeing is not the best way to deal with the demon drink, anyway.’
      • ‘It wasn't demons or spirits or anything out of this world that possessed them, but a fierce determination to win.’
      • ‘Partiality with the demon drink may well be associated with a certain flexibility.’
      • ‘Virtually everyone drinks the demon brew these days, even if it's cheap plonk bought in the supermarket at Mar'ton, much to the regret of Mean Mike at the post office.’
      • ‘He walked with the aid of a stick and his physique spoke of too intimate a relationship with the demon drink.’
      • ‘From what foul depths could have crawled a man who'd drive well above the speed limit, intoxicated by both alcohol and demon marijuana?’
      • ‘This is not the first attempt to exorcise the demon drink.’
      • ‘Educational videos, movies… anything involving that demon picture tube, and those kids are gone.’
      • ‘While one cannot be adamant in every case and say that these people are subject to demon activity, there is a very great likelihood that in fact this is their problem.’
      • ‘The modern form of temperance has a wider target, taking in drugs and tobacco as well as the demon drink.’
      • ‘The demon drink has done terrible things to communities and individuals.’
      • ‘It was Graham who saved young George from the demon drink.’
      • ‘He stayed off the demon drink, which has caused him so many problems.’
      • ‘If you are far from a priest and one is struck by devil sickness or is possessed by demons then there are herbs which may help.’
      • ‘You might use reverse psychology and stress that a chaste distance from demon rum would be one of the advantages to seeing him fly off.’
      • ‘Why do all my exes look so good, why haven't they fallen apart, lost themselves to the demons of drink, ended up in rehab, ended up in therapy.’
      • ‘I've heard alcoholic snowplow drivers make the same claim, that they drink to still the demons.’
    4. 1.4[mass noun] Reckless mischief; devilry:
      ‘his eyes are bursting with pure demon’
      • ‘So how odd that Howard should invest so much time and political capital in building a whole speech round this non-existent demon.’
  • 2[often as modifier] A forceful or skilful performer of a specified activity:

    ‘a friend of mine is a demon cook’
    • ‘Can this demon conductor possibly be pried away from his beloved Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg and tied permanently to New York?’
    • ‘For Ben the Bucket, the Dale's demon gardener, the summer has been both a triumph and a tragedy.’
    • ‘My wife, Bobbie, and I found the Vietnamese to be sweet people, demon entrepreneurs, not at all unfriendly to us.’
    • ‘You play as Jenn who thinks herself a normal girl who likes to have fun, but as the story progresses she learns that she posses demon abilities.’
    • ‘As a sideline he was a classical violinist, a master bridge player and a demon at gin rummy, but golf was where he got his kicks.’
    • ‘Cotton might not be the demon fabric that performance apparel manufacturers say it is, but I'm going to keep my Under Armour shirt.’
    • ‘Even before the tourists jetted out from Blighty former Australian bowling demon Dennis Lillee delivered a withering a verdict on the England attack.’
    • ‘She's a triathelete and is a little speed demon.’
    • ‘Remember those occasions when he would have made batting easy for his partners by taking on the demon bowlers all by himself.’
    • ‘Our first tests of the company's new speed demon show some impressive performance gains.’
    • ‘This is the second time in 12 months that Sondheim's demon barber has appeared in London.’
    • ‘York trumpeter Greg Wadman heads for Scarborough Jazz on Tuesday, with demon guitarist Trevor Holroyd.’
    genius, wizard, expert, master, adept, virtuoso, maestro, past master, marvel, prodigy
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  • 3

    another term for daemon
    • ‘The gods of the world are having trouble keeping the demons at bay, and so they come up with a last-ditch scheme - to resurrect a dead hero.’
    inspiring force, genius, numen
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Phrases

  • like a demon

    • In a very forceful, fierce, or skilful way:

      ‘he worked like a demon’
      • ‘We had our excuses - Papa watched TV late and loud and snored like a demon and my reading lamp bothered Mother.’
      • ‘Professional golfers of his era were demon drinkers.’
      • ‘He trains like a demon and has taken transplant swimming to a new high.’
      • ‘I drove the length and breadth of the country at demon speed but I was still hankering after one more thing.’
      • ‘Reilly has clearly researched and planned the story - and then written like a demon.’
      • ‘Booze was imbedded in the culture of the tour back then and guys played up to their reputations as demon drinkers.’
      • ‘After all, he scored the first goal, made the third and defended like a demon for the two periods of extra-time.’
      • ‘Finally felt better on Sunday night and now I'm up late writing emails like a demon after too long an absence.’
      • ‘Toby in front of me was rowing like a demon, his competitiveness harnessed and proving very effective and Wheelie kept bellowing and keeping us focused.’
      • ‘He negotiated like a demon and saved the club from an unimaginable fate.’

Origin

Middle English: from medieval Latin, from Latin daemon, from Greek daimōn deity, genius; in demon also from Latin daemonium lesser or evil spirit, from Greek daemonion, diminutive of daimōn.

Pronunciation:

demon

/ˈdiːmən/

Main definitions of demon in English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon2

noun

Australian, NZ
informal
  • A police officer.

    • ‘Demons were flown up from the south to make enquiries.’
    • ‘I only wish I had one of them button-hole cameras you see advertised - the demons use them I believe.’

Origin

Late 19th century: perhaps from Van Diemen 's Land, an early name for Tasmania, or based on dee (slang term for detective) + man.

Pronunciation:

demon

/ˈdiːmən/

Main definitions of demon in English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon3

noun

Pronunciation:

demon

/ˈdiːmən/